Check your school’s web filtering is up to the job

By David Tindall, Schools Broadband

When the DfE updated its statutory guidance ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education,’ it stipulated that schools and colleges in England must “ensure appropriate filters and appropriate monitoring systems are in place and children should be prevented from accessing harmful or inappropriate material.”

The guidance sparked much debate around what constituted ‘appropriate filtering,’ until the UK Safer Internet Centre issued a self-certification checklist for filtering providers. The stipulations created a technical nightmare for some players in the industry, in particular that the filtering system should have the ability to identify and report on individual users. This has shaken the industry, and recent reports have suggested some providers are still struggling.

Below is a basic check-list issued by the Safer Internet Centre. Use it to check with your provider that they are able to meet the appropriate minimum standards for you to meet the DfE and Prevent Duty requirements.

Does your filtering system provide:

  • Age-appropriate, differentiated filtering, including the ability to vary filtering strength appropriate to age and role?
  • The ability to allow schools self-control of the filter to permit or deny access to specific content?
  • A rationale that details their approach to filtering with classification and categorisation as well as over blocking?
  • The ability to identify individual users?
  • The ability to block inappropriate content via mobile and app technologies?
  • The ability to manage relevant languages?
  • Network level filtering that is not reliant on any software or user devices?
  • The ability to report on inappropriate content for access or blocking?
  • Clear historical reporting information on websites visited by users?

In addition, you should ask your provider to confirm that they:

  • Are members of the IWF
  • Block access to illegal child abuse images (by actively implementing the IWF CAIC list)
  • Integrate the police-assessed list of unlawful terrorist content produced on behalf of the Home Office
  • Provide monitoring of: Drugs/substance abuse, extremism, pornography, self-harm and violence.

The filtering platform hosted by Schools Broadband has seen a recent £500K investment, to ensure it fully supports schools in meeting DfE regulations. As standard, it provides proactive Prevent Duty reports to protect vulnerable children.

To find out more about Schools Broadband’s new filtering platform, view our short video at www.schoolsbroadband.co.uk/migrations.

email info@schoolsbroadband.co.uk or call 01133 222 333

David Tindal, CEO, Schools Broadband